Roddy challenged over McGuinness rally

Londonderry's City Centre Manager, Jim Roddy, has been challenged to explain why he appeared on a platform during Martin McGuinness's presidential election campaign.

Mr Roddy chaired the proceedings when Mr McGuinness launched his campaign in the Bogside at the start of October.

Terry Wright, chairman of the Foyle Unionist Association, said Mr Roddy needed to clarify his position.

He said: "We feel his appearance could compromise his impartiality.

"I think he needs to ask himself: was he invited there because he was Jim Roddy or was he invited there because he was Jim Roddy, who is the manager of the City Centre Initiative?

"I think it's more likely to have been the latter."

A senior Catholic priest, Fr Michael Canny, and Presbyterian Minister David Latimer were also on the platform on the night in question.

Mr Roddy denied that he had any role in Mr McGuinness's election campaign and said he had already put it on record that his appearance at the rally was in a personal capacity.

"I work with a wide a varied range of partners," Mr Roddy said, "and I do so without fear or without favour.

"I've taken many risks in doing so and I'll continue to do so.

"I want to make this clear: my attendance at that rally was a personal one. I wasn't there in any capacity to do with City Centre Initiative."

Asked whether he was effectively part of Mr McGuinness's election campaign, Mr Roddy replied: "Absolutely not, absolutely not.

"I chaired the meeting. I would do that for any man from this city, any woman from this city, who's going on a campaign that may bring opportunities to this city."